There has been a continuous endeavor on part of the Railways to optimize and reduce the costs and further improve all productivities. As a result of various measures taken in this regard, the Railways have been able to substantially control the growth of Ordinary Working Expenses during the current fiscal so far. Apart from this, austerity and economy measures are being regularly enforced in Railways in order to ensure savings in the operating expenditure.
- The steps taken by the Ministry of Railways to optimize and reduce the costs are as under:
- Tight monitoring and control over expenditure in areas such as fuel/power consumption, contractual payments, purchase of materials etc.
- Energy audit of major load centres, affecting savings in electricity bills through purchase of power by railways as “distribution licensee”.
- Prioritization of expenditure on works/activities for better use of available resources.
- Improvement in Manpower productivity.
- Improvement in asset utilization by taking innovative measures and best practices available.
- Improvement in inventory management.
- Reducing the cost of operation and maintenance of rolling stock.
- The operational cost of the railway since March 2020 to February 2021 is Rs. 1,34,361 cr (including expenditure for the month of March,2020).
- Railway has played an important role during the current pandemic situation.
- During the lockdown period, the freight services of the railways have run in full swing transporting the essential commodities like foodgrains, coal, medicine etc. and ensuring the supply chains across the country.
- Further, Shramik special trains were also run to move over 6.3 million stranded persons as per the demand of various State Governments.
- In the post lockdown phase, the passenger services are being progressively resumed as per demand, suggestions and requirements of State Government and Covid protocol.
- Capital Outlay for 2021-22 has been fixed at an all time high of Rs. 2,15,058 crore.
- The thrust of the Budget is on infrastructure development, throughput enhancement, development of terminal facilities, augmentation of speed of trains, signalling systems, improvement of passengers/users’ amenities, safety works of road over/under bridges etc.
- Focused allocation has been made for New Lines, Gauge Conversion, Doubling, Electrification Projects, Rolling Stock, Road Over/Under Bridges, Track Renewal, Passenger Amenities, Investment in Public Sector Undertaking/Joint Venture/Special Purpose Vehicles and Metropolitan Transport Projects.
- This will propel the Railways into fast track development of infrastructure and capacity enhancement for laying the foundation of future ready Railways.
Integrated Energy Management System:
Indian Railways has unveiled a plan (Mission 41 K) to save ₹ 41,000 crores over ten years. Indian Railways has saved about ₹ 19981 Crores in Business As Usual (BAU) mode since November, 2015 to December, 2020.
- Indian Railways has embarked upon a major electrification program to electrify its Broad Gauge (BG) network by December, 2023.
- Total 16744 RKM has been electrified during the last three years and current year upto 28.02.2021 (i.e. 2017-18 to 2020-21 (28.02.2021)).
Audit of Services at Stations:
Indian Railways constantly strive to provide better services to its vast set of customers through proper planning and system improvements on a continuous and an ongoing basis depending upon customer feedback, operational feasibility and financial viability.
- Various initiatives are taken from time to time by different departments of Railways to improve customer convenience.
- Quality and adequacy of the services provided at the stations is checked by inspection conducted by Railway officers at different levels, Passenger Amenities Committee (PAC), Passenger Service Committee (PSC), etc.
- Action is also taken on the suggestions/complaints received offline/online through various modes.
- Third party audit cum survey on cleanliness of major stations and trains has also been carried out in recent past to get feedback and also to instill healthy competition among railway stations for improving the cleanliness standards.
- Third party audits of catering units at stations are conducted with respect to parameters like quality, hygiene, etc.
- During such an audit in the year 2019-20, 21 instances of deficiency in service were noticed.
- The respective contractors have been suitably warned.
This information was given by the Minister of Railways, Commerce & Industry and Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Shri Piyush Goyal in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha on 24th March 2021.
Source: PIB-Press Release | Image Credit (representational): MoR